Homeless Shelter Is Forced To Close During The Day

Funding problems have forced an eastern Kentucky homeless shelter to close during the day.

At a time when more than 50 new people have turned to the shelter for a place to stay since January.

The Bell County Emergency Center's Director is asking for the public's help to operate the shelter 24 hours a day.

Bell County Emergency Shelter Director Richard Witherite sometimes works 24-hour shifts to help people in crisis situations.

“Richard's a good man. He goes as far as he can to help somebody,” William Ball said.

Now Witherite is having a crisis of his own. At Tuesday night's public meeting, he explained he needs more than 60-thousand dollars to keep the shelter open 24 hours a day. Something his budget hasn't allowed since 2005.

“Some people don't understand why maybe they'll go by the shelter and somebody will be standing in the street or waiting to get in,” Witherite said.

Waiting, because the Whitherite can only pay enough staff to open at 4 in the afternoon, and close at 8 in the morning.

Witherite is counting on those here to help him recruit donors or volunteers to work during the day.

“Somebody may not be able to give money to the shelter but they could give time,” Ball said.

Officials say he's relying on people to contribute whatever they can, to help their neighbors in need.

To find out how you can help, call the shelter at 606-337-5519.

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